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Roy Wood Jr. ‘Imperfect Messenger’ preview, ‘unsafe’ controversy

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Roy Wood Jr.  ‘Imperfect Messenger’ preview, ‘unsafe’ controversy
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The news cycle winds so fast that no comedian can realistically keep up. Take for example Roy Wood Jr. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah correspondent recently recorded his Comedy Central special Roy Wood Jr.: Imperfect Messenger, which will premiere tonight at 10:30/9:30c, to make it as current as possible.

But there were still things that slipped through the cracks. For example, Wood says he would have loved to record this week’s controversy with members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and HBO’s rom-com. Insecure.

A number of angry AKA members took to social media to lament that actress Amanda Seales, who plays Tiffany on the series, isn’t an AKA sorority sister in real life, even though her character is. Seales responded by saying she’s just an actress playing a part. The resentment grew because Seales’ character wore AKA colors and symbols during the season 5 premiere, leading to the threat of a lawsuit.

“I’m not a member of the Pan-Hellenic Divine Nine, blah blah,” Wood, a black Twitter superstar, jokingly told TVLine. “But from an organizational point of view, I do know that there is no logo on a television that has not been erased before it airs. Period. I have to put my thumb over the Apple logo on my phone if it isn’t gone. If Amanda Seales wears an AKA shield on TV, I assure you it had to go through multiple channels. It’s not something they just private To do.”

Roy Wood Jr.  ‘Imperfect Messenger’ preview, ‘unsafe’ controversyThe overarching theme of Wood’s Imperfect Messenger is man’s inherent need to feel good. And the brouhaha around an episode of Insecure insulting a segment of the population, despite the fact that Tiffany has been a demonstrative AKA soror in comedy for five years, certainly falls under the banner of pleasure seeking, he adds.

“Black Twitter is a different world,” said Wood, who moderated an event last Wednesday for Insecure’s Yvonne Orji and her book Tricked by Jesus: How God Deceived Me in the Life of My Dreams. “Anytime people can take the time to argue about something like this over… Insecure tells me that at least for a moment we are all right as a people.”

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It certainly beats sadder alternatives, he adds.

“At least we’re not yelling about another dead black the police killed,” Wood exclaims. “If we as a culture can collectively discuss” Insecure or the Real housewives or whatever, it’s a good day. It’s not something that’s going to divide us as a race. This isn’t Dave Chappelle versus the trans community, and it’s not Kyrie Irving versus vaccination. If you don’t like Amanda Seales wearing a pink-and-green top on that one show, I think that’s progress. What a waste of black energy.”

Finding Your Roots: Roy Wood Jr.Just as he has done for past specials, Wood tries to make his material current and recognizable. This is why he jokes about everything from police reform to the… Fast and the Furious franchisee. But he couldn’t record anything about his time on PBS’ Finding your roots with Henry Louis Gates. The episode, in which Wood learned that he is related to the late great civil rights activist, Congressman John Lewis, aired months ago and feels dated.

“I always ask myself: what are the things that will affect people the most right now?” Wood reflects. “That’s the tricky part of a stand-up special: making sure your material stays up to date. We shot this special two weeks ago in Denver and I had to make sure the punchlines don’t age too quickly.”

What do you think of the AKA/Insecure controversy, and go to the Roy Wood Jr. special. to look? Put your thoughts in the comments.

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